The Chinese government has offered to assist in the case of University graduate student Xiyue Wang, who has been imprisoned in Iran since August 2016.
According to Wang’s wife, Hua Qu, Beijing “has offered to assist in the resolution of Xiyue’s case on humanitarian grounds.” Chinese diplomats recently met with Swiss officials at least once in Tehran and are planning additional talks.
Qu said that China’s “gesture lifts our spirits.”
Wang was conducting research on 19th-century Persia in Iran when he was accused by Iranian authorities of espionage. Just hours from making his flight back to the United States, he was instead sent to Evin prison after a period of interrogation and solitary confinement. Wang now faces 10 years in prison.
Nearly one thousand days have passed since Wang was detained, despite global efforts to release him.
“This separation has taken an emotional toll on our son,” Qu said. “Xiyue has been deprived of liberty and subjected to harsh conditions for three long years. Let our family reunite and heal.”
Since Wang’s arrest, the United States, the United Nations, and international scholars have all called on Iran to release Wang. Trump has threatened “serious consequences,” the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has condemned the arrest, and 32 organizations have signed a statement in support of Wang.
“We continue to do everything we can to support Wang and his family and to try to find a way to secure his release so he can return home,” said Ben Chang, a spokesperson for the University. “This includes reaching out to others — in our government, in other countries, and outside of government — who may be able to offer advice or to help. These conversations typically take place on a confidential basis, so we are not in a position to say more about them.”
“What [Wang] is going through on a daily basis behind the bars is very, very difficult,” Qu said. “The support from Princeton [sic] community is important to give Xiyue hope.”
On the 1000th day of Wang’s detention in early May, the members of the FreeXiyueWang working group will host events. Qu thanked them “for their huge moral support.”
FreeXiyueWang members did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the ‘Prince.’